Auto CM

Contact person: Alvise Tormene
Vigonza, Italy
Castiglioni This fantastic unique piece represents the Italian creativity and the passion for engines that has always permeated our country and, in particular, a region such as Emilia Romagna, where big brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati etc., were born. Not so many people know the “ Kubelwagen”, that we could consider the forerunner of modern SUVs, a vehicle for all kinds of grounds, built by the German Volkswagen and thought for its mass diffusion. During the Second World War, like many other vehicles, it became very useful in the hands of the Nazi army, which, on leaving the front, left many of them abandoned. Doctor Francesco Castiglioni bought one of them from a police general who, in turn, had redeemed it from a post-war depot. “Chicco”, as everybody used to call Castiglioni, used it for some years, but his dream was to build a racing car. In those years many people shared his same dream, they were years in which Italians wanted to go back to life after the dark period of war.; technology, as we know it nowadays, did not exist and what really mattered was to have some knowledge about mechanics and the willing to get your own hands dirty with grease and petrol. With his projects and with the help of a sheet metal worker, his dream came true at the end of 1957 and ,what since that moment would have been “the fireball”, was born. The car was born with “seagull wings” doors but for their realization he had to excessively reinforce the uprights, at the expenses of the internal visibility. Doctor Castiglioni changed his mind and with the excuse that the he could not open the doors in his home garage, he turned it into a “barchetta”. The new project did not last long , as well: Castiglioni had seen the first Abarths and he madly fell in love with them , he decided therefore to change “the fireball” again so as to take the style and shape that the car still has today. His dream, since ever, had been to take part in the uphill races so he decided to disassemble the engine WV , now back in its place, and replace it with a alcohol mixture engine realized by a mechanic from Bologna with the idea to take part in the Bologna-Raticosa. The engine, however, did not want to work; the Doc. Himself projected and designed the parts of the engine ( see notes) and , finally, he was able to solve his problems recovering some Porsche components, that he could import from Germany. He realized various engines of different displacements and powers that he assembled and disassembled on “the Fireball” according to his performance needs. However, everything ended in 1959 when he got married and “the Fireball” was left in the home garage for more than thirty years until it was found and bought by the journalist Elvio Deganallo, expert in vintage cars, who wrote about its history in an article appeared in the magazine Auto d’Epoca (Vintage Cars ) in June 1989. The car, that had a splendid wooden steering wheel, a present to Castiglioni from Enzo Ferrari, was then given to a collector from Brescia who kept it for years but, alas, replaced the precious steering wheel with a less charming one although original from VW. Afterwards a workshop got hold of it , it seems as a compensation of never paid works by the old owner who, meantime, had left his valuable collection to his children. In 2012, eventually, we bought it: it was in excellent mechanical conditions but everything else needed to be restored a little bit. The car body, the interiors and the electrical system have all been redone while the engine , as well as the suspensions and the absorbers, have been overhauled. The car is now in spectacular conditions and it still has the original plate and booklet ( BO 103301 ). It is a fantastic car that tells an equally fantastic story that summarizes our Italian creativity and passion for engines. The car is available at our head office in Padua, contact us in case of further information or to book a visit to view the car

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